New Delhi: Over 50 successful Gujarat-based NEET-UG candidates, including several who have been ranked first, have moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to restrain the Centre and the National Testing Agency from cancelling the controversy-ridden exam. They have sought a direction from the top court to the Union Education Ministry to probe, identify and take strict action against students and others who indulged in unfair practices like paper leak and impersonation in the NEET-UG exam conducted on May 5 this year.

The fresh plea by 56 students has been filed days before a top court bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud is scheduled to hear as many as 26 petitions seeking reliefs like re-test and probe into the conduct of the examination plagued by allegations of malpractices.

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. NEET-UG, 2024 was held across 4,750 centres on May 5 and around 24 lakh candidates appeared in the exam.

Allegations of irregularities, including paper leaks, have led to protests in several cities and sparring between rival political parties.

The pleas seeking cancellation of the exam, re-test and high-level probe are listed for hearing on July 8 in the SC.

The fresh plea of Sidhharth Komal Singla and 55 other students was filed through lawyer Devendra Singh.

It said “The Hon’ble court may further direct the respondents (Centre and the NTA) not to re-conduct NEET-UG … as that would not only be unreasonable and harsh for the honest and hardworking students but also would lead to the infringement of the Right to Education and therefore violative of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution.”

The plea sought a direction to the Centre and the NTA to identify and punish the examinees who adopted unfair means, identify the centres and take appropriate action where any “compromise to the established guidelines for NEET-UG 2024 examinations has been done.”

The Petitioners are young students around 17-18 years of age, and to achieve their dream of becoming a doctor, they have given their 100 per cent and have cleared the exam after consistent hard work of more than 3-4 years, it said.

However, the continuous coverage of news regarding the cancellation of the exam and possibility of a re-test for all is creating mental pressure and causing unnecessary stress, it said.

If the re-test happens as a result of “hype created due to the misleading coverage by media”, the honest successful students will have to face hardship, it added.

Singla, the lead petitioner, ranked 778 in the merit list of NEET-UG 2024, the plea said, adding, “He has always been an outstanding student who in class 12th has topped in his school with 96.60%. It is further stated that amongst the other co-petitioners, there are students who have scored even the 1st Rank…”.

On June 11, while hearing a plea seeking holding of the exam afresh on grounds of alleged question paper leak and other malpractices, the top court had observed that the sanctity of the NEET-UG has been affected and sought responses from the Centre and the NTA on the petition. It, however, refused to stay the counselling of the successful candidates.

The Centre and the NTA had on June 13 told the court that they had cancelled the grace marks awarded to 1,563 candidates. They were given the option to either take a re-test or forgo the compensatory marks awarded for loss of time.

The NTA announced the revised rank list on Monday after issuing the results of the re-test held on June 23.

A total of 67 students had scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA’s history, with six from a Haryana centre figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities in the examination held on May 5. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

The number of candidates sharing the top rank in the NEET-UG came down to 61 from 67 in the revised results announced by the NTA.

  • Published On Jul 4, 2024 at 05:00 PM IST

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